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5th ProZ.com Translation Contest

Spanish to English


Finalists:16

Source text:

Admiré de niño la clarividencia del caballo para orientarse en la ida o el regreso y, sea de noche o de día, en la tormenta o bajo el vendaval, admiré el olfato de los perros para volver al sitio del que parten por más que de él se alejen, o el acierto infalible del gato para encontrar el rum­bo que tras sus andanzas lo devuelve siempre a su casa. Yo no lo tengo ni cuento tampoco con ese invalorable sentido común a la mayoría de los humanos para orientarse en las calles y las rutas o en parajes nunca vistos tanto como en aquellos en donde apenas se estuvo una única vez. Yo me pierdo irremediablemente cuando me alejo de los circuitos habituales. Privado del don de la ubicación, incapaz de abstraer, de discernir y calcular donde tanta falta hace, los sitios que no frecuento son para mí inalcanzables y a ellos jamás llegaría si alguien no me condujese o no me dejara guiar por los que entienden. Sujeto fa­talmente a mi pobre percepción, no sé ir, no sé volver y soy incapaz de remontar mi invalidez. No puedo, no aprendo, no entiendo y nada me dice un plano acerca de mi ubicación. No tengo brújula interna ni don alguno de representación y en cuanto a los puntos cardinales jamás supe dónde están. Todo esto, claro, favorece mi pro­pensión a la inmovilidad. Para no exponerme a vivir perdido, trato de no alejarme de los escena­rios familiares. Poco me convoca fuera de mi ba­rrio y trato en lo posible de que mi vida social nunca lo exceda. Nada más ajeno a mí que el es­píritu de un expedicionario. Invierto las direccio­nes y suelo situar a la izquierda lo que estuvo desde siempre a la derecha, y cuando lejos de mi casa dejo el coche estacionado, lo busco al que­rer volver por el lado en que no está y pierdo así un tiempo enorme resolviendo lo que nunca de­bió convertirse en problema.

KOVADLOFF, Santiago. “Soliloquio del extraviado” en Una biografía de la lluvia. Emecé ensayo, Buenos Aires (2004).


Entry #2663 - Points: 20 - WINNER!
Kathleen Shelly
Ever since I was a child I have marveled at the horse’s intuition for finding its way to or from home, been in awe of the dog’s ability to use its nose to return to the point of departure, through wind and rain, through dark of night or light of day, no matter how far the journey, and admired the cat’s infallible facility for finding the path that will lead homeward after all its wanderings.  Myself, I cannot say that I possess that invaluable ability by which most humans are able Show full text

Ramon Soto
Congratulations on a great translation and a well-deserved win, Kathleen!
Nicholas Ferreira
Congratulations, Kathleen, and Merry Christmas!
Jessie Linardi
Well done :)
Sara Noss
Congratulations from me, too. This reads so well.
Lynda Tharratt
Good job! Congratulations!
Kathleen Shelly
Thank you all so much! What a wonderful Christmas gift! A special thanks for all of you that voted for my entry when the others were so very good. Happy holidays to all!
Daniel Burns
Congratulations. Once again Prozianos have agreed with my top two choices.
Mónica Algazi
Congratulations, Kathleen!
Rose Oakes
Congratulations! Great job!
Sylvia Valls
Fine, fine style, indeed! Cheers
Entry #3404 - Points: 12
Ramon Soto
As a child, I used to admire the horse’s clairvoyance which allowed it to find its way to its destination and back. And, whether it be night or day, under the storm or against the gale, I admired the dog’s sense of smell that allowed it to go back to its point of departure no matter how far away it wanders, or the cat’s infallibility in tracking its own route back home every single time after its forays. I possess neither those qualities nor that invaluable sense, which is common to most humans, Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
Nice job. Your formatting in the biographical endnote is spot on.
And congratulations on your En>Sp victory!
Entry #2921 - Points: 11
Rose Oakes
As a child, I always admired the sixth sense that horses seemed to have, which enabled them to find their bearings at any stage of their journey, either during the day or at night and in wind or storm. I admired the powerful sense of smell which would take dogs back to their starting point no matter how far they had strayed from it. I admired the infallible accuracy with which cats would find their way back home after all their meanderings.
Alas, I have no such geographical accuracy; I lack that Show full text

Rose Oakes
Thanks for your comment. The two parts you mentioned were indeed done on purpose, just because I thought the author in the original text sounded so hopelessly lost, so I wanted to convey that. I thought your entry was excellent too! Have a good Christmas/New Year!
Entry #3412 - Points: 11
Nicholas Ferreira
As a kid I was always amazed at the way horses always seemed to know which way to go, by day or by night, even in the worst of storms; and how dogs could follow their nose and retrace their steps all the way back to their starting point, however far they may have strayed; and the cat’s uncanny ability to always find his way home at the end of his wanderings. I am certainly not gifted with such instincts, nor do I possess that invaluable sense of direction which enables most people to navigate highways Show full text

Jessie Linardi
This flows naturally and I especially like the use of "stomping grounds" and "show up".
Daniel Greuel
I had voted this entry the best. My favorite parts are "highways and byways" and "A prisoner of my poor self-perception, I lack the freedom to come and go at will".
Nicholas Ferreira
Thanks very much for your comments. I really owe most of the credit to my translation partner, Erika Katzman, who I was unfortunately not able to list as co-entrant because she is not yet a paying member of the site. She really added colour to the text. Thanks for all who voted; it was a pleasure reading your entries.
Entry #2515 - Points: 10
Daniel Burns
As a child I admired the sixth sense with which a horse kept its bearings in its comings and goings, and the dog's keen sense of smell that always brought it back, by day or night and through wind and storm,  to its starting point no matter how far it had roamed, and the cat's unfailing knack for finding the route that always led homewards when its prowling was done. I don't have that gift, nor do I have the invaluable facility common to most humans for orienting themselves on streets and Show full text

Entry #3319 - Points: 10
Anonymous
As a child, I admired the sixth sense that horses have in finding their way to a place or back, and I admired the ability of dogs to scent the trail, by day or by night, through storm and gale, back to where they started from, however far they have roamed. Also cats, whose skill in finding the right direction home after their adventures is never-failing. I cannot do that; neither have I got that invaluable sense, possessed by most human beings, for finding my way round streets and paths or places Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
I really liked this entry. It has wonderful flow, rhythm and naturality, a true pleasure to read. Nice how your translation made clear that the author is speaking not about one particular horse, dog and cat, but "horses, dogs and cats" in general. Some outstanding expressions were "scent" (a wonderful description, fits very well), "haunts" and "picturing things in my mind" for representación. A judicious use of punctuation is the crowning jewel of this translation.
Entry #2548 - Points: 9
Catherine Dexter
As a child I admired the horse’s clairvoyance for orienting itself in its goings and comings; I admired the dog’s nose for returning, by night or by day, or in the midst of a gale, to whence it departed no matter how far it strayed, or the cat’s infallible accuracy for always finding its way home after its adventures. I do not have these, nor do I have the invaluable sense common to the majority of humans for orienting themselves on streets and routes, or in places they have never seen or have Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
A good translation, complete with a translation of the source and everything. Although closely mirroring the source text, it still has a nice feel.
Catherine Dexter
Thank you very much!
Entry #3146 - Points: 9
B Sweeney
When I was a child, I used to admire the horse´s instinctive sense of direction. Whether coming or going, it always seemed to find its way. I would marvel at the nose of the dog which, day or night, rain or shine, faithfully returned its owner - however far it had wandered - to the very spot from which it had set off. And I never ceased to be amazed at the extraordinary ability of the cat, whose unerring judgement would, without fail, lead it safely home after a spell on the prowl. A sense of direction Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
A wonderful entry from a true writer. The meaning and the sense of the original were well understood and transmitted. I especially liked "inkling", "quiet life", "high and low." Precise use of punctuation leaves no room for doubt, and gives solidity to this well-written text.
Entry #3016 - Points: 4
Rob Nathan
As a child, I always admired the clarity of purpose with which horses orientated themselves on their journeys outward or home, whether it was day or night, stormy or wind-ridden. Similarly, I admired the sense of smell that allowed dogs to come back to the same place, however far they had strayed, or the infallible ability of cats to always find a way home after their wanderings. I don’t share this invaluable sense of direction that most humans have to steer themselves around streets and paths, Show full text

jack_speak
I am very surprised this entry got no votes. Who is doing the voting? This was among the best, probably the best.
Rob Nathan
Thanks Jack, for the comment. This was my first contest and I have to say I was impressed by the general quality of the entries. It was a piece full of tortuous Argentinian sentence-stretching (no offence to Argentinians or their long sentences intended) which required effort and ability. Bring on the next one!
Entry #2972 - Points: 2
patyjs
As a boy I admired the horse’s clairvoyance for getting his bearings whether outward or homeward bound and, by day or night, no matter the storm or the gale, the dog’s nose for returning to whence he came however far away he has ventured, and the infallible skill of the cat to find the way which, despite his meanderings, would always lead him home.  I don’t have it, nor do I possess that invaluable sense common to the majority of humankind for finding one’s way around streets and Show full text

patyjs
I can't believe that got by me! I'm a stickler for spelling and I never noticed it in all the times I reread it. Thanks, Nicholas.
Entry #3347 - Points: 2
Anonymous
From childhood I marvelled at the horse’s innate ability to find its way to and fro, be it day or night, in a storm or in a gale force wind, and admired the instinct dogs have to return to the place they leave however far they move from it, or the unerring skill of the cat, after its adventures, to always make its way back home. I do not have this, and nor do I have this invaluable common sense shared by the majority of human beings to find their way around the streets and on the roads or in places Show full text

Entry #2485 - Points: 1
Daniel Greuel
As a child, I admired horses’ ability to orient themselves–whether coming or going, in the daytime or in the night season, and though in the middle of the worst storms.  I admired dogs’ skillfulness in finding their way back to where they started, no matter how far they stray, using only their noses; cats’ unfailing ability to find a path home following their adventures.  I am bereft of this skill, as well as of the invaluable faculty that most humans possess that allows Show full text

Daniel Greuel
Any constructive criticism is certainly welcome :)
jack_speak
Daniel - I'll give you my thoughts and invite reciprocation. I had two concerns in your first 2 sentences. 1) you attributed the storms to the horses, instead of to the dogs, plus "and though in the middle" instead of "even in the middle" seemed awkward. 2) the clause beginning "cats' unfailing ability..." is not a full independent clause, so it's inconsistent with the strucure of the previous two clauses being separated by semi-colons -that threw me for a loop, to be honest. The only other item (and relatively minor at that) was "looking for it in all the wrong places," rather than simply "looking for it on the wrong side of the street." Otherwise I enjoyed your creative phrasing and vocabulary throughout: "bereft;" "invaluable faculty;" "don't know how to get anywhere, nor how to return" was smooth and clear; "helpless to overcome;" "keep the familiar in sight;" .... It was a very good translation, except that you lost me in those first two sentences. I hope I don't offend in any way.
Daniel Burns
I agree generally with Jack, but just who or what was out in the storm seemed to be a problem for direct and inverse translators alike--looked at strictly literally it even reads to me like it means the author himself. I felt that I had to add whatever verb was understood to complement "no puedo"--you handled that part much better. I had a hard time deciding whether "conducir" meant "to drive" or "to lead" and I think I decided wrong and you are correct.
Your use of "visualization" for "representación" is very good, going beyond the English cognate for the correct meaning in the context (unfortunately I didn't, one of the weakest parts of my own effort, along with simply mistranslating the part about maps). I am certain your submission would have scored higher if its questionable parts had not occurred so early in the text.
Entry #2428 - Points: 0
jack_speak
As a child, I admired the clairvoyance with which a horse finds its way to and fro, and I admired the sense of smell with which dogs, whether by night or by day, under storm or gale, are able to find their way back to the place from where they began, however far they may roam, or the infallible precision of a cat in finding its bearings, which, after all its meanderings, always lead it back home.  I don’t have, nor can I count on, that priceless intuition that most humans have to find Show full text

jack_speak
Dittto to Daniel's invitation: any constructive critcism is welcome- If I were ashamed, I would have gone anonymous. So comments are freely welcome.

I acknowledge from the start the glaring typo where I included "I can't to do," which was supposed to read "I can't do it."
Daniel Greuel
Jack - thanks so much for your comments on my entry. No offense whatsoever was taken; in fact, I agree with all of your points.

In yours, I think the rough parts for me were: "customary trajectories" and "developed into a problem". Also, the "I don't have, nor can I count on" part was a bit unclear. I think the original "no lo tengo" refers to the animal abilities of the previous sentences, then "ni cuento tampoco con..." is about humans' priceless intuition. Other than that, it is a very nice translation. I especially like "whereabouts" and "fuels my inclination to stay put".
Daniel Burns
I felt that "no lo tengo" was a vague reference to the abilities referred to in the previous sentences and that "contar con" was simply a synonym for "to have", and the winners seem to have seen it that way. Jack also hit the mark with "visualize", and I can't point to a thing in his submission that is actually incorrect.
jack_speak
Daniel and Daniel - thank you both for your feedback. In retrospect, I agree that "no lo tengo" was a reference to the previous sentences, but I was wrongly hung up on a sentence structure of "no tengo ni cuento con ... el sentido para orientarse."

Regarding "customary trajectories." I honestly agonized over the word-choice for "circuitos." An obvious translation would be "beat," as in 'a policeman walks his "beat," ' but that sounded stupid to me in this case. And so did all the other alternatives I considered. In the end, I gave in on 'trajectories,' knowing that at least 'trajectories' would be understood, even if not poetic. Other peoples' translations were "rounds," "beaten paths," "circuits," "surroundings," "haunts," "routes," "environs," and "unfamiliar places." Clearly everyone agonized over this one! Isn't it funny how difficult it can be to translate a simple idea? The truth is, at least in U.S. English, we would never say it this way. We would simply say "when I stray from my nomal routine."
Entry #2975 - Points: 0
Anonymous
As a child I admired the clarity of vision of the horse in finding its way to or fro and, be it day or night, through a storm or with a high wind blowing, I admired the sense of smell of dogs which allowed them to return to the place they had started off from, however far away they went, or the cat's infallible ability always to find its way back home after its wanderings. I neither have nor can count on that invaluable sense which most humans have which lets them find their bearings in streets and Show full text

Entry #3169 - Points: 0
Anonymous
As a child, I admired the clairvoyance of the horse in finding its way there and back again, day or night, through wind or rain; I admired the dog's sense of smell and how it returned it to where it started, no matter how far it had strayed; and the infallible wisdom of the cat to find the path that always led it back home after its adventures.

I do not possess nor have at my disposal that invaluable common sense that the majority of humans have to help them find their way through streets Show full text

Nicholas Ferreira
A good entry. Nice flow. I liked "mental imagery", "frequent."
Entry #3226 - Points: 0
Anonymous
As a child, I admired the psychic abilities of horses, to find their way out and back and the olfactory sense of dogs to return to where they came from no matter how far away, day or night, in storms or mighty gales, or the unfailing accuracy of cats to always find their way home after prowling around. I do not possess, nor can I rely upon that invaluable sense that the majority have to find their way through streets and byways or orientate themselves in places where they have never been as well Show full text

Feedback - 5th ProZ.com Translation Contest
This space is provided for feedback and suggestions about the contest in this particular language pair.
As we have already planned, this feature is now open to all members (full, community and student members).
Nicholas Ferreira
As those who received comments from me can probably tell, I just read "Eats Shoots and Leaves," a classic in the making on punctuation in the English language. It makes a good read if you are interested, and helps develop precision in this area of our writing. Maybe someone can get it for you for Christmas ;-)


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